Mm: a film about language, masculinity and speedway racing. Part-feminist linguistic investigation, part-child’s learning tool and celebration of motor sport, a voice-over of words and associations narrates 35mm verité footage of the Berwick Bandits, an all-male Speedway motorcycle team with the mantra ‘No Brakes, No Gears, No Fear’.
A kaleidoscope documentation of spectators, riders, races and bikes, the film searches for and questions meanings through the letter M, the words it forms and what those words signify. Masculine, motorbike, man, manufactured, manipulated, maintained, marginalized, mandatory, mighty…
Shot on location by Salmon on 35mm film, with the support and collaboration of Berwick Bandits, Mm incorporates the explosive sounds of Speedway alongside voice and music by Scottish post punk all girl band Sacred Paws.
Mm is commissioned by Northern Film and Media and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, with support from Simpsons Malt
Once a Jolly Swagman
Released in the United States with the brashly appropriate title of Maniacs on Wheels, this 1949 BAFTA nominated film starred Dirk Bogarde, Bonar Colleano, Thora Hird, Sid James and Bill Owen. Bogarde, plays the role of Bill Fox, a bored factory worker whom against the wishes of his family and girlfriend, takes to the speedway track where he becomes a star. From then on in it’s glamour or grit all the way.
Sucked into the glamour of the Mayfair set, Bill starts to forget his working class roots. Disillusioned, he fights back and attempts to form a riders’ union to ensure families are secure should an accident every occur. Facing opposition, the dilemmas keep on rolling—from packing up riding and opening a garage, to enlisting to fight in the Second World War. And how about that long awaited racing comeback, might Bill have to make a choice over returning to the arms of his one true love?
“With many scenes filmed on location at New Cross Speedway, at the height of Speedway’s popularity, the crowd shots are almost unbelievable compared to today. The sound of the bikes will be music to the ears of Speedway lovers who can remember the sport before the 1970s. You can almost smell the damp shale, the burning fuel, and the Castrol R!”